Participate Learning is committed to bringing ambassador teachers together to form a community of educators from around the world. By combining a range of cultures and heritages, we aim to enrich students’ lives through this collaboration. When students are given opportunities to view the world through a broader lens, they tend to have a greater appreciation and understanding of people from other cultures.
Mariela Quiros is an ambassador teacher who is currently teaching with Participate Learning for the third time. Originally from Costa Rica, she has 21 years of classroom experience and now teaches in Raleigh, North Carolina. We chatted with Mariela about teaching in the US, learning about new cultures, and where her teaching inspiration comes from.
Teaching in the US
Eleven years of teaching in the US over three separate exchanges has taught me to be open to new ideas, and to be flexible. In particular, my students have taught me about their own customs and also shown me new levels of good behavior and creativity in the classroom.
My favorite thing about teaching here is how innovative it can be – the use of technology in the classroom, plus different methodologies and a variety of resources.
Learning a new culture
I think the biggest difference between home and the US is that here everything is very structured, and in my experience, students have extremely good behavior. In Costa Rica, students are more talkative and we are not as structured in the classroom.
As well as learning US customs myself, I like for my students to learn as much as possible about Costa Rican culture – and especially its food!
My mother had a strong influence on my decision to become an educator. She was my role model, and I could see how passionate she was about teaching. So I’m extremely proud of both earning my Master’s degree, and being successful in the classroom. I really enjoy what I do, and don’t see myself ever wanting to do anything different.
One of my personal highlights comes from when I was teaching first grade and saw students reading and speaking Spanish. It was amazing and inspiring to see how confident and natural they were in a foreign language at such a young age.